Injunction against Dong Zong conference may be unconstitutional — SUPP

Datuk Sebastian Ting has tested positive for Covid-19.

MIRI, Dec 28: A legal team from SUPP will study the developments concerning the court injuction taken by the police against Dong Zong from holding a closed-door conference on the grounds that the conference might breach the peace.

After receiving the injunction, Dong Zong cancelled the conference which was originally scheduled to take place today. The conference was meant to facilitate discussion of the implementation of a Jawi calligraphy module in vernacular schools.

“In this respect, our SUPP (Sarawak United Peoples’ Party) legal team will study this case thoroughly and Datuk Richard Wee, Chairman of Sarawak United Association of Chinese School Boards of Management and I had contacted each other and we would arrange a meeting with the association to discuss and find the best solutions on the way forward,” its secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting revealed, adding SUPP since its formation in 1959, has always been very concerned with Chinese education.

The majority of the Chinese in Malaysia and SUPP are extremely shocked and greatly disappointed that Dong Zong was forced to abandon its proposed conference, he claimed in a statement today.

“They and the majority of those voters in 14th General Election (GE14) who voted for a change of governent were totally shocked and greatly disappointed because they were promised a new government, new hopes, more freedom of speech and right of assembly, as provided for in our Federal Constitution, recognition of Unified Examination Certificate, amongst many others.”

Ting added, Article 10 of the Constitution of Malaysia is crystal clear and it guarantees all Malaysians the right to freedom of speech (Article 10(1)(a), freedom of assembly (Article 10(1)(b) and freedom of Association(Article 10(1)(c).

“The above three freedoms as enshrined in our Federal Constitution are always believed to be the basic fundamental individual rights which are as essential conditions for a free and democratic way of life,” he outlined.

“With the above provisions in our Federal Constitution, the question here is whether the Court Order obtained by the police to stop or ban Dong Zong from holding their proposed conference to discuss their objections towards the introduction or implementation of Jawi in the Bahasa Malaysia subject in vernacular schools for Year 4 students commencing next year is constitutional or not.

“We are of the opinion that the Ban Order might have contravened Article 10 of our Federal Constitution and therefore it might be unconstitutional,” he pointed out.

Ting noted that the police have sworn to uphold the Federal Constitution and are seen to be the protectors of the people, providing, amongst others, protection to all Malaysian citizens .

In this instance, even if the police might have received or obtained information that holding such a conference or gathering by Dong Zong might result in a breach of the peace, it should be the duty of police to provide adequate protection to ensure that such anticipated breach of the peace would never happen, such as preventing protesting NGOs from going near the venue where Dong Zong was supposed to hold the conference, he added.

These other NGOS too have their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and rights of assembly.

“The right thing to do would be to separate these two groups from meeting each other. Each group could have their own gatherings in different places, far from each other. In this they will never clash and therefore no threat at all to the imaginary breach of the peace.

“This should have been the better solution,” Ting opined.

He pointed out that the police obtained the Court Order without offering or giving Dong Zong an opportunity to be heard.

“Is this the new democracy of our country under this present government? Or As Datuk Zaid Ibrahim in his article titled “Democracy Bites the Dust” dated 28th Dec 2019 said “Democracy is now dead.

“SUPP firmly believes our Federal Constitution is the supreme law of our country to be read together with Malaysia Agreement 1963, Cobbold Commission Report, Inter-Governmental Committee Report and Malaysia Act 1963 (Chapter 35) and Article 10 as stated above, and provides a guarantee to each and every Malaysian of the right of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.

“We must not allow our constitutional rights being taken away or being deprived of.

SUPP had previously issued press statements strongly opposing the introduction or implementation of Jawi in Chinese primary schools in Sarawak.

“We are still opposing this introduction or implementation of Jawi to our Sarawak Chinese Schools next year,” Ting disclosed.

“We are with the Sarawak GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) government in our quest and negotiation with the federal government for education and health autonomy be passed on to the Sarawak government as soon as possible.

“The Sarawak GPS government is confident that we will certainly be able to manage our own schools better.”

He also reminded Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) leaders of their GE14 election promises, amongst others, to give education and health autonomy to Sarawak.

“Please do it on an urgent basis,” he added. — DayakDaily